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News Briefs for February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016

•Blackberry Farm proprietor Sam Beall, who turned a small Tennessee inn into a first-class food destination with one of the world’s best wine programs, died February 25 in a skiing accident in Colorado. He was 39. Blackberry Farm was originally a family home, purchased in 1976 by Beall’s mother and father, Kreis and Sandy, the founder of the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain. Wine Spectator has more on Beall’s life and career.

•Beverage alcohol delivery provider Minibar is expanding into the Austin, Texas, market, partnering with retailers Wiggy’s Liquor Store, Far West Liquor & Fine Wines and 34 Wine & Spirits (co-owned by former NFL running back Ricky Williams), Austin 360 reports. Austin represents the 22nd market for Minibar, which will compete against Thirstie, Drizly and Instacart in the city’s drinks delivery sector.

•New York-based importer HB Wine Merchants has added Champagne Forget-Brimont to its portfolio. Forget-Brimont’s 300,000-bottle production is made exclusively with premier and grand cru fruit. HB is launching Forget-Brimont Brut Premier Cru ($40 a 750-ml./$25 a 375-ml.) and Rosé Premier Cru ($45 a 750-ml.) in seven East Coast states, as well as Ohio and Tennessee, with Florida also expected to come online later in the year.

•A New Jersey lawmaker has put forward a bill that would grant far more liquor licenses to chains across the state. New Jersey assembly majority leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden), is the primary sponsor of bill A-1727, which would ease the state’s restriction limiting corporations to retain only two liquor licenses, allowing the limit to gradually grow to 10 licenses. A coalition of supermarket chains is lobbying for passage of the bill, while the New Jersey Liquor Store Alliance opposes the measure.

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